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GFT Spotlights 2017 Trends Shaping Financial Services

GFT, the leading business, design and technology consultancy working with the top 10 global investment banks and hedge funds, today announced top trends impacting financial institutions as they strive to create ongoing value through digital enablement. These trends show an ongoing shift towards cost efficiency models, regtech innovation and a digitalized ecosystem.

The industry continues to be shaped through market uncertainty and the emergence of market opportunities through tech innovation around blockchain, machine learning and AR. Shifting regtech innovation will also maintain focus as banks struggle to remain compliant in this new environment as Dodd Frank changes become more apparent and MiFID II is delayed. These trends all point to a more value-driven, targeted approach towards a digitalized environment that involves cost efficiency models and ongoing regtech innovation.

Market Uncertainty under a Volatile Political Climate

Investors will remain cautious due to the new administration in the U.S. and equally volatile political climate around the globe.

Market-based measures of inflation expectations in the U.S. have spiked since the election. Rising interest rates across borders will increase the cost of capital, which will negatively impact many marginal fintech businesses. With this increased capital cost top of mind, new, riskier fintech start-ups will struggle for funding under a Trump administration.

Shifting Cost Efficiency Models

One major theme that has emerged is that banks are expected to demonstrate accountability and transparency their operations. Major big banking players have added data governance teams to drive cost efficiency forward, as the year progresses we will continue to see these teams grow. With ongoing regulation standards rapidly shifting, banks are expected to transparently comply to or else deal with expensive complications. Banks have now started expecting these risks and are setting aside funds to deal with these issues - however changing cost efficiency models also provide banks the support they need to drive positive change.

The Emergence of New Market Opportunity Around Automated Technology

As new technology emerges, developing tech such as blockchain, machine learning and AR will provide new market opportunities for financial organizations and fintech players alike. This developing technology will pave the way for ongoing banking automation as players move to full-scale digitalized approach:

  • Digitalized automation process such as machine learning will succeed more outdated, legacy systems such as grid-computing and cloud-based platforms. Machine learning has started to fundamentally understand pattern recognition. This is something that banks will seek to translate in support of digitally-enabled automation processes.
  • Blockchain will be transformed through useful application. Banks and financial intuitions will continue to see blockchain running proof of concepts. In early October, GFT alongside RBS proved that RBS in conjunction with Google is able to perform to industry standards for payment transactions using ethereum blockchain. In 2017 the conversation around blockchain will be less backend tech focused and more dedicated to the actual solution and useful application as witnessed with the RBS/Google transaction.
  • Ongoing privacy concerns will come to the forefront as data governance and regulatory standards shift. As machine learning greatly impacts automation patterns, new scenarios around modelling market risk will emerge. These data privacy concerns will also come into play around back testing and validating historical data sets.
  • Ongoing Regtech Innovation - While compliance and KYC processes have been simplified and gotten easier to attend to, there is still progress to be made. Without automating the regulatory reporting process, banks run the risk of not properly processing data governance models – resulting in pricey complications. The US regulatory environment around will dramatically change over the next four years due to widespread scale back on key regulatory structure such as Dodd Frank and the ongoing MiFID II delay. In response, to best tackle these challenges banks will witness regulatory innovation aligning with the ongoing trend of digitized automation.